Weekly Rochester Events #510 Starting Thursday, October 16, 2008

Thursday, October 9th, 2008

On Bullshit at the Bertrand Russell Society Meeting
by Jason Olshefsky at 7:00 pm (add a comment)

I headed to The Bertrand Russell Society at Verb Café meeting at Writers and Books (740 University Ave.) for Ted Lechman's discussion of Harry G. Frankfurt's On Bullshit. [Got it?]

The tie-in to Russell was a short pamphlet he wrote in 1943 titled An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish: A Hilarious Catalogue of Organized and Individual Stupidity. Frankfurt's book was written in 2005 and professed to provide a philosophical definition of bullshit (also known as rubbish, malarkey, hokum, and humbug). Lechman generally spoke from Frankfurt's point of view, adding his own views where necessary.

The colloquial definition sets bullshit on the true-false spectrum — that bullshitting is a form of lying. Lechman argued that this is a flawed definition: that bullshit is much more anchored in motive than in truthfulness. My analogy is that fitting bullshit into the true-false spectrum is as valid as fitting apathy into the love-hate spectrum.

I think a linguistic flaw is the concept of opposites: for you can argue that love is the opposite of hate, and (in my opinion more strongly) that apathy is the opposite of love. Yet apathy is also the opposite of hate — and now we've got a triangle of opposites which is logically impossible. As the old joke goes, "two wrongs don't make a right but three lefts do." [Which I credit to 2NU in their song, "This is Ponderous", but I'm sure it's older than that.]

Anyway, Lechman was trying to suggest that bullshit comes from a motive of misdirection, not of deception. Thus, lying is the deliberate act of deceiving — of knowing the truth but professing something else. Bullshit is the deliberate act of misdirecting attention — of not caring about the truth of a statement, but stating it anyway to draw attention to someone else.

I think his perfectly constructed example was of one who states, "America is the greatest country in the world" to other Americans. It's a statement that has no provable truth, for there are statistics that favor America and those that don't. The purpose of making such a statement, though, is to suggest that oneself is great — that by complimenting the country and therefore its people, the people then express praise in complementary appreciation.

However, I deviate from Lechman's and Frankfurt's definition there. I think that bullshit can be as simple as assuming logical fallacy is more valid than logical argument. To me, this definition allows for a more innocent form of bullshit, where the bullshitter actually does have truthfulness in mind, but is ill-equipped to make an argument.

So in the end, I guess I support Lechman's (and presumably Frankfurt's) definition that one form of bullshit requires an apathy toward the truthfulness of a statement and an ulterior motive. However, I feel there is also another form of bullshit which is simply using logical fallacy as if it is superior to logical argument.

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Friday, October 10th, 2008

Dogtown, Oh My God
by Jason Olshefsky at 2:00 pm (add a comment)

After Ali and I had lunch at Dogtown Hots (691 Monroe Ave.), I headed to The Rochester Contemporary Art Gallery (137 East Ave.) to check out the installation there: Sam van Aken's Audition. Ali and I went to the opening reception last week, but both Thumper and Oh My God were works based on sound, and it was pretty much impossible to fully experience them with all the crowd noise.

I have to admit I was enamored of the idea of Oh My God: a 60-foot-long, 10-foot-high wall of mismatched speakers, impossibly arranged to form a perfect rectangle. I knew from the opening that it sporadically played voices and sounds. I sat in front of it for (what turned out to be) nearly the entirety of its 7-minute loop. The phrase "oh my God" — versions thereof collected from famous and not-so-famous media sources — emanates sporadically from one randomly-selected speaker. And then from another, and another, and so on — gradually playing more and more frequently until building to a cacophonous and overwhelming climax.

As I was letting myself get lost in the experience, I recognized a few of the voices and their sources from popular movies and television. Sometimes I'd recognize a voice that was played earlier being played in a new location. I was also aware of the digital distortion from the variety of low sampling rates and MPEG-styled compression artifacts — a specific kind of harmonic whine that tended to distract me. But certain voices I didn't recognize (save for their intonation), and they brought me specifically to the events of September 11.

In reading the information binder for Oh My God, it turns out that was, in fact, Aken's inspiration. In unavoidably viewing the terrible footage that day over-and-over until he became numb to it, the one thing that rang out was a woman's voice saying, "oh my God" in one of the clips. [In case you don't recall, the World Trade Center was destroyed by terrorists piloting hijacked commercial airplanes on September 11, 2001.]

I was kind-of saddened that the point was so … simple: that this impressive-scaled work, reminiscent of the ideally-packed order of Manhattan's maps and its skylines, was just a reflection of the numbness achieved by repetitive playback of an event by the media by creating numbness to a phrase by parroting its own frequent use in media.

I still want to like it so bad, but I'm at a loss to find any more depth in it. But hey: maybe that's the point too.

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JayceLand Pick Gerd Ludwig will be at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) at 6 p.m. to night to present a lecture titled Russia Today: A Phoenix Rising from the Ashes. [source: Eastman House calendar] [all ages]

At The Asbury First United Methodist Church (1050 East Ave.) is the second part of the 70th Anniversary Celebration of The Rochester Genealogical Society. Dr. John Philip Colletta will deliver a lecture titled Passenger Arrivals from 1820-1957 followed by Discovering the Real Stories of Your Immigrant Ancestors. [source: Rochester Genealogical Society website] [all ages]

Over at Lux LoungeMySpace link (666 South Ave.) starting around 8 p.m. is The Dudes Of Earl, and Roots ColliderMySpace link. [source: Lux flyer] [21+]

Over at Boulder Coffee Co.MySpace link (100 Alexander St.) starting around 8 p.m. is Eric SommerMySpace link. [source: Boulder Coffee MySpace site] [all ages]

JayceLand Pick The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing The Haunting starting at 8 p.m. It's about a group of people investigating the haunted mansion "Hill House". Eastman House's Calendar adds, "this classic of the horror genre was a throwback in its own time, masterfully employing the powers of suggestion to provoke fear, and now stands as one of Hollywood's scariest, most atmospheric works." [source: Dryden Theater calendar] [all ages]

JayceLand Pick The Bug JarMySpace link (219 Monroe Ave.) will be hosting PegacideMySpace link, instrumental-cacophonous rock from Science vs. WitchcraftMySpace link, and sBACHMySpace link starting around 9 p.m. [source: Carbon Records calendar]

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que (99 Court St.) will be hosting the blues-charged rock-and-roll/groove-rock of Buford and the Smoking Section starting around 10 p.m. [source: Dinosaur Bar-B-Que calendar]

Drinking Liberally meets at 8 p.m. tonight at Monty's Korner (355 East Ave.) [source: RocWiki calendar]

JayceLand Pick Tonight at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) at 5:30 p.m., The Rochester Visual Studies Workshop (31 Prince St.) at 6 p.m., and The Memorial Art Gallery (500 University Ave., near Goodman St.) at 6:45 p.m. is a multi-institution opening reception for John Wood: On the Edge of Clear Meaning. [source: Eastman House e-mail] [all ages]

Once again The Landmark Society of Western New York (133 S. Fitzhugh St.) presents Ghost Walk starting at Third Presbyterian Church (4 Meigs St., at the corner of East Ave.), tonight and tomorrow starting ever 10 minutes from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. [source: Landmark Society calendar]

The Nuts and Bolts Comedy Improv TroupeMySpace link will be performing tonight and tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. at Spotlight Theatre Arts (66 N. Main St., Fairport). [source: Nuts and Bolts e-mail]

The All Night Ramblers will be at The Mez (389 Gregory St., formerly House of Hamez and Daily Perks) starting around 8 p.m. [source: Mez website] [all ages]

ZahyiaMySpace link will be at Boulder Coffee Co.MySpace link (100 Alexander St.) starting around 8 p.m. [source: Boulder Coffee MySpace site] [all ages]

JayceLand Pick The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing Otoshiana (Pitfall) starting at 8 p.m. Here's what the Eastman House Calendar teases us with: "When a miner leaves his employers and treks out with his young son to become a migrant worker, he finds himself moving from one eerie landscape to another, intermittently followed (and photographed) by an enigmatic man in a clean white suit, and eventually coming face to face with his inescapable destiny. [...] Pitfall is an unsettling ghost story, a portrait of human alienation, and a compellingly surreal critique of soulless industry." [source: Dryden Theater calendar] [all ages]

JayceLand Pick Over at The Bug JarMySpace link (219 Monroe Ave.) starting around 9 p.m. is The Music Tapes. [source: Croquet Shows website]

Over at Monty's KrownMySpace link (875 Monroe Ave.) starting around 10:30 p.m. is good metal from WarbladeGarageBand linkMySpace link, and CrucifistMySpace link. [source: Freetime] [21+]

JayceLand Pick This morning at 10:15 a.m. is an Upstairs/Downstairs Tour of George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) for Eastman House members. [source: Eastman House calendar] [all ages]

Today at 11:45 a.m. at The Cinema TheatreMySpace link (957 South Clinton Ave.) is a screening of Bi the Way as part of The ImageOut Film Festival. It's a documentary about bi-sexuality in America. [source: ImageOut program]

JayceLand Pick Sign-up and join MEETinROCHESTERMySpace link folks to Learn to Curl at The Rochester Curling Club (71 Deep Rock Rd.) today at 1 p.m. [source: MEETinROCHESTER calendar]

Top Pick This evening at 6 p.m. at The Rochester Visual Studies Workshop (31 Prince St.) is Home Movie Day featuring home movies — actual film — along with information on preservation. [source: Dryden Theater calendar] [all ages]

JayceLand Pick Tonight at 6:30 p.m. at The Baobab Cultural Center (728 University Ave., formerly on Gregory St.) is a Community Dialogue with G. Peter Jemison titled Can Native Americans be Educated and Remain "Native"?. [source: Baobab website]

Tonight at The Record Archive (33 1/3 Rockwood St.) is Velveteen FoxMySpace link starting around 7 p.m. [source: the proverbial grapevine]

Updated: Tonight starting at 7 p.m. is the 2nd Anniversary Party at Solera Wine BarMySpace link (647 South Ave.) [source: flyer]

Tonight at The Mez (389 Gregory St., formerly House of Hamez and Daily Perks) is Songwriters in the Round featuring witty and talented acoustic soloist Brian Coughlin, Dusty PascalMySpace link, and Loren Barrigar starting around 8 p.m. [source: Mez website] [all ages]

Tonight at dark at Highland Bowl (South Ave. at Robinson Dr.) is a screening of Frankenstein. [source: High Falls Film Festival press release]

Updated: According to an e-mail from SoundRabbitMySpace link, The Mezzanotte Cafe and LoungeMySpace link (685 N. Salina St., Syracuse) went out of business and — as you might imagine — they won't be playing there. As of 9 a.m. October 16, they're looking for a gig somewhere between Ohio and Massachusetts ... [source: band e-mail] [21+]

JayceLand Pick Great 1960's-styled rock from The Hi-RisersMySpace link, The Lovesick HeartstabbersMySpace link, and The Found will be at The Bug JarMySpace link (219 Monroe Ave.) starting around 10:30 p.m. [source: Bug Jar calendar]

JayceLand Pick Solidly good punk-rock/bar-rock from The SpacesMySpace link will be at Monty's KrownMySpace link (875 Monroe Ave.) starting around 10:30 p.m. [source: Freetime] [21+]

Today starting around 2 p.m. is a Harmony in Roc, a "Music Against Violence Benefit" at Water Street Music Hall (204 N. Water St.) [source: Water Street calendar] [16+]

JayceLand Pick Today at 2 p.m., join MEETinROCHESTERMySpace link members for a Fall Foliage Train Ride on The Arcade and Attica Railroad (278 Main St., Arcade). [source: MEETinROCHESTER calendar]

The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing Chelsea Girls starting at 7 p.m. I only mention this as a warning: this film is notorious for people walking out (including myself, who made it about halfway through its 210-minute runtime). It's also known as Andy Warhol's "cinematic masterpiece" — and as such, a true gauntlet for those who claim to like Warhol's work. It's an amateurish jumble of images of stoned-out people at the Chelsea Hotel; a genius demonstration of the antithesis of cinematic storytelling. [source: Dryden Theater calendar] [all ages]

JayceLand Pick Tonight at The Bug JarMySpace link (219 Monroe Ave.) is bluegrass-influenced folk-style picked-guitar from Jack RoseMySpace link, Michael ChapmanMySpace link, and peculiar rock from Nod starting around 9 p.m. [source: Bug Jar calendar]

Tonight at 6:30 p.m. at The Little (240 East Ave.) is a screening of Laughing Matters ... Next Gen for The ImageOut Film Festival. It's about a group of gay comics on-stage and behind-the-scenes. [source: ImageOut program]

Bored? Why not check out 1980's DJ night at The Bug Jar (219 Monroe Ave.) starting around 11 p.m. [source: Bug Jar calendar]

This morning at 7:30 a.m. in the cafeteria overlooking the arboretum in Bausch and Lomb (140 Stone St.) is the Artists Breakfast Group meeting ... anyone interested in art or creativity is invited.

JayceLand Pick Today at 12:12 p.m. in Gleason Auditorium at The Rochester Public Library (115 South Ave.), Books Sandwiched-In presents Ed Hall reviewing Inventing Niagara: Beauty, Power and Lies by Ginger Strand. [source: Rochester Public Library calendar] [all ages]

Tonight at 6:30 p.m. in St. Anne Church (1600 Mt. Hope Ave.) is the Fall General Meeting for The Upper Mount Hope Neighborhood Association featuring City of Rochester Engineer Paul Way and Assistant Director of Zoning Marcia Barry to discuss the redevelopment of Mount Hope Avenue. [source: Upper Mount Hope Neighborhood Association flyer] [all ages]

Tonight at Water Street Music Hall (204 N. Water St.) is TelepathMySpace link, and DJ Dangler starting around 8 p.m. [source: Water Street calendar] [16+]

The Eastman Horn Choir will be at Kilbourn Hall at Eastman Theatre (60 Gibbs St.) starting at 8 p.m. [source: Eastman School of Music calendar] [all ages]

Tonight at 8 p.m. is the first pre-opening performance of Frost/Nixon at Geva (75 Woodbury Blvd.) The play runs through November 16. [source: Geva Theatre website]

The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing Hijosen no onna (Dragnet Girl) starting at 8 p.m. A woman is determined to convince her boyfriend to leave his life of crime behind. Live piano accompaniment by Philip C. Carli. [source: Dryden Theater calendar] [all ages]

Top Pick The Bug JarMySpace link (219 Monroe Ave.) will be hosting the sublimely simple acoustic guitarist and singer Jonathan Richman starting around 8:30 p.m. [source: Bug Jar calendar]

Over at Eastman Theatre (60 Gibbs St.) starting at 8 p.m. is The Eastman Wind Orchestra. [source: Eastman School of Music calendar] [all ages]

JayceLand Pick The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing Shampoo starting at 8 p.m. It's about a hairstylist who juggles relationships with 3 women — another in the Hal Ashby series being screened this month. [source: Dryden Theater calendar] [all ages]

JayceLand Pick Over at The Bug JarMySpace link (219 Monroe Ave.) starting around 9 p.m. is The Jive MamasMySpace link, and Mr. GnomeMySpace link. [source: Bug Jar calendar]

Updated: I guess Reggae night has been postponed/canceled/delayed at Abilene Bar and Lounge (153 Liberty Pole Wy., formerly Tara) so the formerly-scheduled The Grand Canyon Rescue EpisodeMySpace link will be on hand to host open-mic starting around 9 p.m. [source: the proverbial grapevine]

The Monroe Village Farmers' Market runs from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the parking lot of The Church of the Blessed Sacrament (534 Oxford St.) [source: Eat Out Rochester]

Poor People United meets tonight and every Wednesday at 7 at St. Joseph's House of Hospitality (402 South Ave.) [source: the proverbial grapevine]

Every Wednesday starting at Dogtown Hots (691 Monroe Ave.) at 7 p.m. is the Rochester Cruisers Wednesday Night Cruise (for bicyclists). [source: the proverbial grapevine]

There's an Open Mic for Acoustic Music at Boulder Coffee Co. (100 Alexander St.) tonight around 8. [source: the proverbial grapevine]

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This page is Jason Olshefsky's list of things to do in Rochester, NY and the surrounding region (including nearby towns Irondequoit, Webster, Penfield, Pittsford, Victor, Henrietta, Gates, Chili, Greece, and Charlotte, and occasionally other places in Monroe County and the Western New York region.) It is updated every week with daily listings for entertainment, activities, performances, movies, music, bands, comedy, improv, poetry, storytelling, lectures, discussions, debates, theater, plays, and generally fun things to do. Music events are usually original bands with occasional cover bands and DJ's with musical styles including punk, emo, ska, swing, rock, rock-and-roll, alternative, metal, jazz, blues, noise band, experimental music, folk, acoustic, and "world-beat." Events listed take place during the day, in the evenings, or as part of the city's nightlife as listed. Although I'm reluctant to admit it, it is a Rochester blog and I'm essentially blogging about Rochester events. I also tend to express opinions, review past events, make reviews, speak of philosophy or of a philosophical nature, discuss humanity and creativity. Oh, and it's spelled JayceLand with no space and a capital L, not Jayce Land, Jaycee Land, Jace Land, Jase Land, Joyce Land, Jayce World, Jayceeland, Jaceland, Jaseland, Joyceland, Jayceworld, Jayceeworld, Jaceworld, Jaseworld, nor Joyceworld. (Now if you misspell it in some search engine, you at least get a shot at finding it.) It's also not to be confused with Jake's World or JakesWorld which is a site of a Rochester animator. While I'm on the topic of keywords for search engines, this update includes information for Thursday, October 16, 2008 (Thu, Oct 16, 2008, 10/16/2008, or 10/16/08) Friday, October 17, 2008 (Fri, Oct 17, 2008, 10/17/2008, or 10/17/08) Saturday, October 18, 2008 (Sat, Oct 18, 2008, 10/18/2008, or 10/18/08) Sunday, October 19, 2008 (Sun, Oct 19, 2008, 10/19/2008, or 10/19/08) Monday, October 20, 2008 (Mon, Oct 20, 2008, 10/20/2008, or 10/20/08) Tuesday, October 21, 2008 (Tue, Oct 21, 2008, 10/21/2008, or 10/21/08) and Wednesday, October 22, 2008 (Wed, Oct 22, 2008, 10/22/2008, or 10/22/08).

JayceLand Pick indicates an event that's a preferred pick of the day ... probably something worth checking out.

Top Pick indicates a "guaranteed" best bet for the particular genre of the indicated event.

GarageBand link links to a band's page on GarageBand.com which offers reviews and information about bands.

MySpace link links to a band's page on MySpace.com which is a friend-networking site that is popular with bands.

Fly the flag today. is a day when you should fly the flag according to the Veterans of Foreign Wars calendar.

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